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Armenia: Prime Minister Divulges Details Of Chernomyrdin Talks

Yerevan, 30 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - Armenia's newly-appointed Prime Minister, Armen Sarkissian, has disclosed details of his meeting in Moscow last week with Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, including plans to restore rail links between the two countries.

Sarkissian told reporters in Yerevan today that he and Russian leaders agreed that a new gas pipeline from Russia to Turkey should pass trough Armenian territory. He says he reached an agreement with Russian leaders to restore the railway connecting Russia and Armenia via Georgia and its separatist region of Abkhazia.

Sarkissian quotes Russian officials as saying that if the Abkhaz conflict bars restoration of the old railway line a new line would be built further to the east, bypassing Abkhazia.

Before returning to Yerevan, Sarkissian gave an exclusive interview to our correspondent in Moscow in which he stressed the importance of strengthening economic ties between Moscow and Yerevan.

Sarkissian told our correspondent that during his talks with Russian officials the two sides agreed to increase Russian investments in Armenia's economy. Sarkissian says maintaining a strong relationship with Russia is strategically important for Armenia.